Co-Authored by Alexandra Zagury
Vice President, Partner Managed Services and aaS Sales,
Global Partner Organization
Virginia Supportive Housing’s (VSH) mission is to end homelessness. As the largest and oldest provider of permanent supportive housing in Virginia, VSH’s approach combines affordable housing with individualized services. VSH states simply: “We help people reclaim their lives.” The facts speak volumes: more than 97% of VSH residents do not return to homelessness, and average incomes for residents increase by 127% within one year of becoming permanently housed with VSH.
VSH’s challenge is to provide secure and reliable voice and data services not only to its roughly 150 employees and numerous facilities located across Virginia, but also to its 1,700+ tenants in residence. Naturally, VSH management wants to align its own employee resources more closely with achieving its mission to help homeless individuals transition to a more stable life. This means having a staff devoted to roles such as offering clinical services and managing the housing properties, rather than dealing with traditional IT tasks such as managing wireless networks and setting up secure VPN connections for remote employees. For these capabilities, VSH turned to Cisco partner Infranet Technologies Group.
Infranet joins VSH’s team
Infranet is essentially VSH’s IT organization, coordinating everything IT. Infranet specializes in providing network solutions for business-critical network infrastructures. Providing professional services for over a decade, Infranet employs engineers with years of IT experience and Cisco certifications in voice, routing, switching and wireless networking.
As VSH’s outsourced IT organization, Infranet provides IT services such as infrastructure support, help desk services, consulting services, end-user training and any type of new property solution design and implementation. In addition, they also provide vendor management, which means coordinating, recommending and managing all the different vendors involved with providing voice and data services.
Infranet also ensures that VSH employees, tenants and intellectual property are kept safe and secure. For example, as a provider of clinical services, VSH has to make sure tenant health records are not compromised. It’s also extremely important to VSH that its reputation is not tarnished by cybercriminals. Infranet protects VSH by deploying several market-leading Cisco security technologies such as Cisco Umbrella and Cisco Meraki security appliances at the edge of all VSH properties and corporate facilities. For instance, with the move to a remote workforce driven by the pandemic, Infranet expanded VSH’s VPN usage for employees working from home.
Infranet also deploys Cisco wireless technologies to provide wireless services to VSH’s apartments, as each property provides free Wi-Fi for its residents. Somewhat like a hotel, each property also has a computer lab so residents can access the Internet, whether they have a computer or not. This service has proven especially important during the pandemic, as residents have been homebound and greatly expanded their ability to use video conferencing to communicate with others.
Building on success
To put it simply, employees at Virginia Supportive Housing see Infranet as their IT department and as part of the team to eliminate homelessness in the state of Virginia. As an invaluable team member, Infranet employees are available 24/7 to step up and help out wherever they can to help VSH eliminate homelessness, one individual and family at a time.
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